Cagle Leads General Assembly to Advance Education Reform

April 5, 2018

Atlanta, GA – During the 2018 Legislative Session, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle led the General Assembly to advance a sweeping legislative package of education reform measures. SB 3, SB 362, HB 217, HB 787, HB 763, and the FY 2019 Budget build on our state’s continued pursuit of greater choices and educational excellence for Georgia’s families.

Cagle championed legislation that will increase local control, equalize funding for charter schools, and allow teachers to stop teaching to the test. These initiatives also further Cagle’s vision of transforming Georgia’s public schools by expanding Georgia’s College and Career Academy Network and GA CATT apprenticeship program, boosting funding for Georgia’s SSO student scholarship program, and fully funding Georgia’s public schools at 100% of QBE.

“Education drives our economy and defines who we are,” said Lt. Governor Cagle. “A rising tide lifts all boats, and excellence in public education will create prosperity in all our communities. Georgia’s schools are advancing reforms to ensure every 3rd grader is proficient in reading, absolutely no students drop out of school, and all high school graduates obtain post-secondary experience or technical training.

“Thanks to the conservative leadership of Governor Deal, Speaker Ralston, and the General Assembly, we’ve fully funded QBE and we’re investing more in our students than ever before, while reducing income taxes on every Georgian who earns a paycheck.

“By advancing these substantive educational priorities, we’ve empowered local education leaders to stop teaching to the test and given parents and students greater power to chart their own individual path to academic and professional success,” continued Cagle.

Cagle highlighted the passage of the following legislative initiatives: 

  • School Safety: Nothing is more important than the safety of our children. Throughout the 2018 legislative session, the General Assembly worked collaboratively to approve $16 million in grant funding, ensuring our schools remain safe and secure. These bonds will fund Georgia’s Safe Schools grant program, created with the passage of HB 763. This legislation improves coordination between schools and local law enforcement, while assisting Georgia’s schools to establish comprehensive school safety plans, secure campuses, and train faculty, teachers, and students to exercise emergency preparedness procedures. 
  • No More Teaching to the Test: Senate Bill 362 directs teachers, principals, and supporting faculty to accept individual accountability for our students without being forced to rely on and be measured by one single summative assessment. Cagle’s initiative will empower ten of Georgia’s leading school systems to pilot this program by replacing one-size-fits-all standardized testing with innovative individualized learning plans, real-time data analytics, and formative assessments that lead to measurable academic check points. Individualized learning plans will give our educators a comprehensive view into how our schools are educating students. These newly designed measures will also encourage our schools to replace duplicative standardized testing for high school students with more relevant assessments like the ACT, SAT, and Accuplacer.
  • Student Scholarship Organizations (SSOs): With nearly 13,000 students taking advantage of the nation’s fourth largest SSO scholarship program, many of Georgia’s families have gained access to high quality education that was previously out of reach. Because of the growing demand for these competitive scholarships, Cagle led the General Assembly to pass HB 217, increasing the program’s annual funding to $100 million – nearly doubling the size of this exceptional opportunity to include thousands of additional students.
  • Charter Schools: After years of collaboration with the Georgia Charter Schools Association to improve the quality of Georgia’s Charter Schools and strengthen their partnerships with local school systems, Cagle secured the passage of HB 787 to enhance funding for Georgia’s Commissioned Charter Schools and give more students access to quality educational choices. HB 787 supports Cagle’s vision to equitably fund these schools, increase funding for facility costs, and support greater innovation in education. 
  • College and Career Academies (CCAs): More than 30,000 students are currently enrolled in Georgia’s 46 CCAs, which offer college-level courses and industry training through post-secondary associate degree and industry certification programs. College and Career Academies boast graduation rates as high as 100%. Since Cagle founded the CCA Network in 2007, Georgia’s high school graduation rate has increased by more than 22 percentage points – rising from 58% to over 80%. To extend these offerings to more students, Cagle led to approve an additional $12 million in grant funding in the FY 2019 budget to launch four new College and Career Academies – another step forward toward providing every high school student access to a CCA by 2020.
  • CONNECT ACT: Under Cagle’s leadership, SB 3 also known as the CONNECT Act, was passed to address the critical workforce needs of industries across Georgia by creating and expanding funding for work-based learning programs, industry mentorship training, and additional career pathways for students to earn industry certifications and credentials. This legislation will allow school systems and technical colleges statewide to increase postsecondary and apprenticeship opportunities – creating more jobs in communities across Georgia.

 

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Contact:
Danny Kanso
(404) 656-5030
danny.kanso@ltgov.ga.gov